Central is celebrating its 160th birthday this year. And like fine wine, the college gets better with age. The campus has sure come a long way since the original two-story building. Take a look at our physical transformation over the years. And, yes, it’s OK to be a little bit jealous of how well we’ve aged.
Small But Mighty
Student enrollment hovered below 100 throughout the 1800s. The Civil War left campus with just 40 women and two men.
It Had a Dome and Everything
The old, old library came before Geisler and the one transformed into Lubbers Center for the Visual Arts.
Was That A Hobo I Just Saw on the Football Field
Railroad tracks ran through campus until the late 1990s, making a valid excuse for tardiness to class: “I got caught by the train.” This photo shows campus before Geisler Library, the Peace Mall or the Pond became hallmarks of Central.
Yeah, We Had Ivy
Built in 1925, Central Hall housed classrooms and offices, as it does today. Douwstra Chapel was added in 1940 to signify the unity of higher education and religious training at the college. Daily chapel was a requirement for many years.
The old gymnasium was turned into the Drama Workshop in 1970. It stood near where the Chapel is now. When Martin Luther King, Jr. visited campus in 1967, he spoke to a large crowd in the gymnasium. The microphone he used is still in the library’s archives.
I Spy Some Bellbottoms
The original bridge was based on a Japanese wooden tea bridge and was much steeper and more slippery than today’s steel and concrete version. In the background, you can spot the first student union, in the same location as Maytag today.
Close, But No Cigar
In this photo, things are starting to look current: the library has been built, the Pond adds its graceful shape to campus. Until you spot the football field where Vermeer Science Center should be. And those pesky railroad tracks are still there!
Which version of campus is yours? Share your favorite places on campus in the comments.